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Criminal justice activists hold rally on Rikers Island

Source: Andrew Lichtenstein/ Criminal justice activists hold a rally on Rikers Island / Getty

 

A transgender detainee has been sentenced to seven years in prison for raping a woman who was also held at the women’s dorm of the massive jail complex.

On April 25, New York authorities slammed 33-year-old Diamond Blount for sexually assaulting a 33-year-old woman in the bathroom of the Rose M. Singer center located on Rikers Island.

During the incident, which occurred back on Feb. 8, 2021, investigators said the victim had just finished showering when Blount pushed her to the ground and held her down, carrying out the horrific attack. The unidentified inmate was administered a rape kit test which matched Blount’s DNA in the New York Registry. On April 7, Blount, whose legal name is Ramel Blount, pleaded guilty to attempted rape.

“Sexual violence against anyone is unacceptable,” Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said in a statement, according to the New York Post. In addition to Blount’s seven-year sentence, they will be required to undergo eight years of post-release supervision.  An order of protection has been issued and Blount must also register as a sex offender.

Violence has been increasing on Rikers Island

Violence on Rikers Island has soared to historic heights since the start of the pandemic in 2020.  Last year, 16 people died while in the custody of the 10 facility jail complex. That’s more than 2019 and 2020 combined. The New York Times reported that in 2021, the prison facility also saw an alarming number of slashings, stabbings, and beatings that occurred “at a pace of 38 per day for more than 270 days straight.” 200 women inmates were transferred to other facilities to protect them from the crisis.

During an interview on NPR’s “All Things Considered” back in October 2021, reporter Jasmine Garsd revealed that both male and female detainees were filled with anger and anxiety about Rikers’ violent conditions.

“Every single person I spoke to told me their loved ones are reporting the facility is run by gangs,” she explained.

“There’s a shortage of corrections officers and oftentimes no food, no beds, no medical attention. I spoke to one man who had just been released. He broke a bone when he was arrested and said he couldn’t get medical care in jail,” Garsd added.

This year, more than 1000 weapons have been recovered from Rikers under DOC Commissioner Louis Molina, who assumed the role back in January. Molina promised to make Rikers a safer facility for officers and detainees, but insiders told the New York Post that there’s still a hefty presence of violence. If nothing is done soon, officials worry that the trend will continue to grow worse.

 

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